Realme entered the Philippines and offered Filipinos the most affordable smartphone that they have — the Realme C1.
As expected, it became an immediate hit. Since the brand’s conception in India a couple of months back, they are already receiving praises for their products that offer a great value for the price.
But, here in our Realme C1 review, we’re about to see how this device really holds up in real-world and extensive usage. So without further ado, let’s begin.
Realme C1 Specs
- Android 8.1 Oreo, ColorOS 5.1
- Dual SIM, Dual Standby (nano, dedicated)
- 6.2-inch HD+ IPS Display, 1520 x 720 pixel resolution, ~271ppi
- 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 octa-core processor
- Adreno 506 GPU
- 2GB RAM
- 16GB internal storage, microSD support up to 256GB
- 3G, HSPA+, LTE
- 13-megapixel f/2.2 + 2-megapixel f/2.4 rear cameras with LED flash
- 5-megapixel front-facing camera, f/2.2
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
- FM Radio
- Bluetooth 4.2
- GPS, A-GPS
- Dimensions: 156.2 x 75.6 x 8.2 mm
- Weight: 168 g
- Colors: Ocean Blue, Deep Black
- 4,230mAh non-removable battery
Design and Build Quality
One of the things that I immediately liked about this device is its design. For a device that costs Php5,990, the Realme C1 is surprisingly attractive, sturdy, and doesn’t feel cheap at all. If anything, it even looks more premium than more expensive devices in the market.
Oh, and before going any further, the Realme C1 is basically a rebranded OPPO A3s. These two devices are virtually the same, with just a few minor tweaks that made the Realme C1 cheaper.
The back panel is made from a shiny polycarbonate material, which has a glass-like appearance. While it looks really attractive, it did eventually got a few hairline scratches. So if you own one, make sure you put it in a protective case.
But with a screen of 6.2-inch, the Realme C1 is inevitably large. Also, the handset comes with a large 4,230mAh battery which is the cause of its slightly heavy weight and thick profile. So, it goes without saying that the Realme C1 is not the most comfortable thing to hold.
But then again, its shiny back panel, a Corning Gorilla Glass front, and its sturdy chassis make this device easily nail the hardware department.
For a quick rundown, we have the aforementioned 6.2-inch HD+ screen on the front, with a relatively large notch on top that houses the earpiece, sensors, and a 5-megapixel selfie camera.
On the back, you can spot 13-megapixel + 2-megapixel dual rear cameras.
There are the dual nano SIM and dedicated microSD card slots on the left side. Below it is the volume controls, while on the right side is the lock/power switch.
The top is empty, while the bottom have the microUSB port, loudspeaker, built-in microphone, and 3.5mm headphone jack.
As stated earlier, the Realme C1 comes with a huge 6.2-inch HD+ IPS screen with a resolution of 1520 x 720 pixels, ~271ppi, and is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass.
Color quality shouldn’t be your top priority for a device at this caliber. However, I’m happy to report that the screen on this handset actually projects images with decent saturation and contrast.
What most people would really appreciate is its large screen estate. You can watch YouTube or Netflix with more visible details. You can even do a pinch-to-zoom gesture to watch videos in full screen.
But if you don’t want to be bothered with the notch and the horizontal crop, you can zoom out to watch 16:9 videos in their native resolution. However, you have to bear the two black bars on each side.
The HD+ resolution might not be enough for a display this big. But still, I found reading articles, even the ones with smaller texts, really comfortable in the eyes. In addition, the backlight beams enough light to make is usable in sunny outdoors.
Hardware and Performance
The Realme C1 is rigged with a 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 octa-core processor, 2GB of RAM, Adreno 506 GPU, and 16GB of expandable storage.
Its chipset might not be the most appealing of all. But then again, for the price and all the other great features that you’re getting with it, it’s still a pretty great bargain.
Realme C1 Benchmark scores
The interface does feel decently smooth and apps run seamlessly. It was even able to handle almost all the games we threw at it at playable frame rates — which you can learn more in detail on our separate gaming review.
However, you can definitely feel the insufficient 2GB of RAM. Apps loads a little slow, and switching between them is really rocky. Thankfully, the interface will prompt you when the RAM needs to be cleared as it becomes full.
Still, the overall performance was satisfactory. And for the device at this price, it’s really hard to find anything better.
You can’t really have it all, especially on a smartphone at this price point. As what you’ve probably noticed already, the Realme C1 lacks a fingerprint scanner. However, Realme makes up for it by including a face unlock feature that works really well.
The feature only uses its 5-megapixel selfie camera to scan your face. But despite the low pixel-count and no special hardware, it was still able to detect my face surprisingly fast. It can also work in a pitch black room, for as long as the display is bright enough to beam light in your face to make to make it visible.
Alternatively, you can use the good old passcode method, which can be more intuitive to use when the former struggles to unlock your device.
You can also use both the face unlock and passcode security feature to prevent anyone from accessing any app of your choice. You can also hide photos, audio, documents, and other files via the Private Safe feature.
Realme is surely focused on making the Realme C1 a great entertainment smartphone. Other than its large screen, this device also boasts a great loudspeaker on the bottom.
The volume is surprisingly loud that you don’t even have to use it at maximum every time. It may sound muffled, but it’s really the volume that you should prioritize from a loudspeaker. This thing is perfect for listening to music and watching YouTube videos.
In addition, the audio coming out from its 3.5mm headphone jack, through a pair of cans, is good. For as long as you have a decent pair of headphones, you can confidently jam through your playlist in your daily commute, before going to sleep, or any time of day.
Software and User Interface
The Realme C1 runs on Android 8.1 Oreo with ColorOS 5.1. As stated earlier, this phone came from the OPPO family, hence the familiar user interface.
Much like what most OPPO smartphones have, the Realme C1’s interface is minimalistic, straightforward — pretty much like Apple’s iOS.
The lock screen looks simple. There’s no app drawer so all the apps are laid out in the home screen. The quick toggles on the notifications tab are grouped in two rows, with thin-lined icons.
You can also access the interface’s smart assistant when you swipe all the way to the left in the home screen. This lets you easily search contacts, apps, or the web.
The keyboard is easy to type on. The camera app is intuitive to use. Overall, there’s not much to dislike about the ColorOS. Well, not unless you’re really a fan of stock Android.
However, there is a lot of unnecessary pre-installed apps. Thankfully, you can easily uninstall them in just a few clicks.
The software also has a split screen mode for easy multitasking and Game Space for better game optimization.
When it comes to camera, ou should really limit your expectations especially on affordable smartphones. The camera system on the Realme C1 is definitely not the best. But for a device at this price? It can definitely deliver.
The Realme C1 is packed with a 13-megapixel + 2-megapixel dual rear cameras. There are surely a lot of under-Php6k smartphones in the market today that has a dual-camera setup, but not a lot of them can deliver the image quality that this thing can produce.
As what you can see in the samples below, it can take pictures with acceptable colors and contrast for as long as you set the exposure right before taking the picture. The details are quite decent, too.
Low light and indoor performance are decent as well. The details do struggle a bit as camera noises and grains are starting to appear. But still, it’s worth sharing online.
The secondary 2-megapixel rear camera also does a good job of capturing depth information, creating an almost believable bokeh effect on photos.
But then again, you can’t really have it all. While the camera on the back was great, the one on the front took the beating.
What we have here is a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. Its software and AI feature tried its best to make images great. It did a good job — but the physical limitation of the hardware is still obvious.
The images look really soft. Softer than what the AI face beauty is allowed to make. However, the fun-to-use face filters make up for its limitations.
The Realme C1 is ending this review with a bang. This handset sports a 4,230mAh battery, which is a rare find on low-end devices such as this.
It got a whopping score of 14hrs and 52mins on PCMark’s battery stress test. That’s even more impressive than the Huawei Mate 20, which only garnered a screen-on time of 10hrs and 56mins in our full review.
So, how does this translate in a real-world scenario? Well, expect to get up to 2 days of charge from this thing under light to moderate usage. That’s from casual web browsing, taking pictures, listening to music, and other light activities.
But if you’re a heavy gamer, you can still squeeze more juice on this than most smartphones around. The device’s strong performance isn’t actually that surprising considering the low power hardware that it has.
From the tone of this review, I guess its pretty evident how much we liked this Realme C1. However, due to its price, its shortcomings are inevitable.
The limitations of its 2GB of RAM is really showing and the lack of a fingerprint scanner is a bummer. Plus, if you love taking selfies, you might be a little disappointed on this phone.
But again, for its price, the Realme C1 was still able to exceed our expectations. Its classy and sturdy design is a surprising pull off, especially for a low-end device. Not a lot of brands can do this, as we only have Xiaomi products to choose from before.
The huge screen is great for consuming media. The chipset was able to handle any game we throw at it. Lastly, there’s the impressive battery longevity.
Overall, if you’re looking for a great smartphone at this price segment, the Realme C1 should be on the top of your list.
Pricing and Availability of the Realme C1
The Realme C1 has a retail price of Php5,990. You can get it at Realme’s official store in Lazada and Shopee, or through different multi-brand stores around the Philippines.
Realme already promised that the Realme C1 will be available in over 1,000 partner stores before January ends, so getting a hold of one shouldn’t be that hard.
- Surprisingly premium design
- Large display
- Capable gaming performance
- Long battery life
- Low RAM capacity
- No fingerprint scanner
- Front camera could be better